Sunday, December 29, 2019

December Dahlias

Santa Cruz Mountains

light pink dahlia blossom with bee dripping from rain

As unlikely as it seems, in rare years a giant dahlia blooms in my yard in December. Its frail pink color is decidedly un-winterish.

blooming pink dahlia with many buds and bee

Conditions must be perfect: ample rain, chilly but no freezing conditions. Honey bees eagerly attend to the unexpected bounty.

view of entire giant dahlia plant, with many blossoms. trees and sky in background

These giant dahlias are so called because of their height—well over 15 feet. The blossoms themselves, as dahlias go, are rather diminutive.

bee visiting a giant dahlia blossom dripping with rain

Even on rainy days, surprising numbers of bees come out to gather pollen between showers, despite temperatures in the 40s.

two soft and sensuous giant dahlia blossoms

I must confess that these photos weren’t taken this year. They’re from 2015, the last time the rare conditions that giant dahlia need to bloom occurred.

a group of giant dahlia blossoms with buds in various stages of opening

2015’s December weather was chilly and damp, after a couple of drought years. Giant dahlias prefer cold weather for blooming, as long as it doesn’t quite freeze.

bee on a giant dahlia blossom in dry sunny weather

At year’s end, remembering giant dahlias from years past, I look forward to future blooming winters, whenever they might be.

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